Internet Stocks Taking It On The Chin

Internet stocks were mostly lower in mid-session as Wall Street was reacting negatively to a variety of news.

Just before noon,’s Internet Stock Index was unchanged at 483.82, the Nasdaq Composite was off 43.12 to 2,368.91 and the Dow Jones industrial average was off 130.45 to 10,465.81.

Losers included AdForce Inc. (ADFC) which had plunged 8-11/16 to 20-1/4. The company’s shares were reeling from the announcement that the Web advertising company had lost GeoCities, its largest client. Yahoo!, which closed its purchase of GeoCities last week, plans to manage GeoCities ads on its own system.

Yahoo! (YHOO) shares were off 7-1/8 to 131-1/16 on news that it had acquired Online Anywhere which specializes in Internet solutions for Internet appliances.

Shares of Marimba Inc. (MRBA) had plunged 11-7/8 to 45-1/2. The company, whose software allows software updates to be distributed over the Internet, fell after Charles Philips of Morgan Stanley Dean Witter initiated coverage with a “neutral” rating.

Internet brokers continued to trade lower on concern that Merrill Lynch’s plans to get into the business will result in a price war, eroding profits in the sector. Ameritrade Holdings Corp. (AMTD) was off 6-1/8 to 73-5/8, DLJdirect (DIR) had sunk 6-9/16 to 32-3/16 and E*Trade Group Inc. (EGRP) was off 4 to 35-5/16.

Ameritrade also announced a 3-for-1 stock split on Wednesday.

Charles Schwab Corp. (SCH) was off 7-9/16 to 91-15/16 on news that it had agreed to form a full-service brokerage with Tokio Marine and Fire Insurance Co., Japan’s largest casualty insurer.

Shares of PSINet Inc. (PSIX) fell 1-3/8 to 42-1/8 on news that it acquired The Internet Co., a Switzerland-based Internet provider.

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